Top 10 B2B Marketing Trends for 2015

It's safe to say that 2014 was the year of social media marketing, where content played the most significant role in service advertising between businesses. What's in store of B2B marketers in 2015? The established trends will carry on – only with small modifications, which can have considerable repercussions in the industry. Adopting new approaches and testing them in their environments, marketers will be able to channel latest B2B marketing trends and see which ones prove most efficient for their brands.

Here are top 10 B2B marketing trends that experts predict we'll see rising in 2015 – number 9 is bound to revolutionise your content strategy!

1. Mobile Domination

With the mobile scene on the rise, it's only natural that mobile environments will become significant when it comes to B2B marketing. Executives are using mobile devices to research, communicate and browse the web – as a brand, you need to meet them where they are. The first step is having a responsive and fully functional mobile website.

In 2015, brands will strive to create compelling and personalized digital experiences for their business users and a big part of this effort will be mobile-optimized elements, dynamic content and offline activities. In short, mobile experience will become a real priority.

2. Content Marketing 2.0

Following several years of the steady rise of content marketing, it's safe to assume that most B2B companies know their way around it. But do they really? Like any other marketing strategy, content marketing has changed and in 2015 – it's expected to become a much more measurable and strategic discipline.

That's what's going to happen in 2015. Brands are predicted to give extra priority to ROI, assign more resources to content marketing activities than ever, integrate content marketing throughout all communication and PR channels, focus on quality content and integrate visuals into their content strategies.

Bonus point? Experts claim that the use of Slideshare as a content marketing platform will increase in B2B environments.

3. Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing automation will be high on priority lists of many B2B brands in 2015. It will allow companies to efficiently automate a segment of their digital marketing practices, such as social media, direct e-mail and lead nurturing. With a solid contact plan behind it, marketing automation will save companies both time and resources, which they will be able to allocate in other areas.

This will be especially important for real-time marketing – brands won't have to rely on historical models, but use automation suites that will deliver timely and relevant messages to prospects and consequently boost user response.

4. Personas in Content Strategy

Another significant trend in content marketing to come is the increased use of personas in developing relevant and engaging content. Buyer personas are based on real data and market research about a customer base, allowing brands to understand their audience and modify content in accordance with the preferences of buyer personas. This way, brands will get full value out of the time they spend on generating content.

5. Personalization and Micro-targeting

Micro-targeting is the recent talk of town of B2B marketing sector and it's bound to make an impact in 2015. Using data and analytics to better understand their audience, brands will be able to respond in real-time with personalized content and targeted messaging that is timely and appropriate.

This will help brands to create more targeted and relevant interactions with their clients – in 2015, the high value of such an individualized approach towards content will be well worth their time.

This ties up with client personas mentioned in the preceding point – in 2015, personas will be more meaningful and assist brands in their micro-marketing activities by prioritizing relevance.

6. The Rise of Smarketing (Sales+Marketing)

Historically speaking, sales and marketing have always had a problematic relationship. In 2015, this might change. In B2B, the close communication between marketing and sales teams is crucial for getting maximum value from the new buyer behaviors.

According to a study conducted by SiriusDecisions, B2B organizations where marketing and sales are aligned achieved 27% faster profit growth and 24% faster revenue growth within a 3-year period. Marketing automation is one of the strategies that will support this trend by providing a structure to coordinate sales and marketing efforts as a coherent whole.

7. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is nothing new on the B2B scene but in 2015, it's predicted to gain even more importance. It's a smart way for marketers to make the most from the behavioral data and other data points that brands have accumulated over time.

As opposed to traditional lead scoring models, predictive scoring makes use of much more data from various sources and calculates scores that are more predictive of the actual buying intent. Using predictive analytics, B2B marketers will be able to first identify and then prioritize and close more leads than ever.

8. Paid Amplification

In 2015, B2B marketers will spend more resources on paid placements than ever. This is a result of several changes on the social media scene. For instance, a recent update of a Facebook algorithm resulted a 44% drop in non-sponsored brand content in users' news feed. All social media offer sponsored placements and targeted ads, and their importance in B2B marketing is likely to rise.

9. Documenting Content Strategy

When it comes to content marketing trends, documenting is one we'll see grow and blossom in 2015. If content marketers want to be affective, they will simply need a documented strategy. A recent infographic brought by Uberflip says it all: brands with documented content strategies rated themselves highly in terms of content effectiveness. (http://hub.uberflip.com/h/i/27787399-b2b-content-marketing-trends-for-2015-infographic)

To put it in numbers brought by the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of those with a documented strategy admitted their effort to bring real effects, as opposed to a meek 32% of marketers relying only on a verbal strategy. If like most marketers you're not documenting your content marketing strategy yet, you better start doing it now!

10. Old-School Marketing Comes Back (With a Bang)

Another interesting insight represented in the Uberflip infographic suggests that old-school B2B marketing techniques are coming back. Among the most effective B2B tactics, in-person events gained 69% of marketers' votes.

When everyone has been focusing on digital strategies, traditional marketing approaches have been slightly ignored. Together with face-to-face interactions, print media marketing is also making a comeback – it engages audiences in a completely different way. 2015 will be the year many B2B marketers will reformulate their focus and question their reliance on digital channels.

Marketing trends come and go, but some of those are here to stay. Judging by the above, the continued investment in content marketing is as predictable in B2B as in any other kind of marketing. Focusing on providing engaging content, brands will enrich their marketing strategies by careful analytics, documentation and targeting to foster brand awareness and generate more leads than ever.

The article was contributed by Monica Wells of bizdb.co.uk.